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Fire Extinguishers?

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Sporky McGuffin

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One thing to be aware of, if you have CO2 don't use it in small areas, it will quickly displace the oxygen and potentially cause you to pass out or worse, keep it near your exit rather than at the back of the workshop
My powder one is by the door so that if there's a fire, everything is on the way to the exit. If I get there and it looks worth setting the extinguisher off, I will, but the decision never involves moving further into the workshop.

A bit of a tangent, but the other thing is to always sweep up regularly - I've had people ask if I actually make anything because my workshop is clean and clear unless I'm actually making sawdust at that moment. As soon as I'm done with a machine I sweep up anything that the dust extractor has missed. It keeps the place tidy so it's harder to lose things if you drop them, and it means there's a lot less in the way of fast-burning stuff around. I should remember to empty the dust/chip extractor more often though.
 

Stigmorgan

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My powder one is by the door so that if there's a fire, everything is on the way to the exit. If I get there and it looks worth setting the extinguisher off, I will, but the decision never involves moving further into the workshop.

A bit of a tangent, but the other thing is to always sweep up regularly - I've had people ask if I actually make anything because my workshop is clean and clear unless I'm actually making sawdust at that moment. As soon as I'm done with a machine I sweep up anything that the dust extractor has missed. It keeps the place tidy so it's harder to lose things if you drop them, and it means there's a lot less in the way of fast-burning stuff around. I should remember to empty the dust/chip extractor more often though.
100%, another reason i have for having them by the exits is if someone does have to try get in to rescue me. I'm also fortunate in that as I work and live in a school and I have a very good relationship with our inspector my extinguishers get inspected along with the schools ones every 12 months for the price of a coffee and bacon sandwich 😁
 

Speedy23

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I see everybody getting excited about CO2 extinguishers....my advice, don't bother.

CO2 extinguishers are good for 3 things: Making a loud noise, giving you electric shocks and causing frostbite (because people always hold them incorrectly, grasping the discharge horn and the base).

Notice I omitted to say "extinguishing fires". Unfortunately, the highly efficacious CO2 extinguishers that we used to see deployed on an almost weekly basis in "Voyage to the bottom of the sea" (those of an age will know) are seemingly unavailable these days.

This is because applying CO2 gas to a fire in an effective manner is notoriously difficult; convection tends to disperse the gas before it has had a chance to displace the oxygen that is feeding the fire. If, by any lucky chance the fire does go out, then like as not the gas will promptly disperse, allowing oxygen to reach the still-hot fuel - with predictable results.

If you have used the extinguisher on a Class B (liquid) fire, then once again, if the fire has gone out, then the static charge caused by the non-conducting gas rushing down a non-conducting discharge horn is quite sufficient to create a spark that is quite capable of re-igniting any fuel vapours that may be hanging around...and its back to stage one!

Best thing nearest to a general-purpose extinguisher is a dry powder - it will knock down most fires very quickly but as has already been observed, it makes a hell of a mess and you definitely don't want to be breathing it in.

And watch it if you try to apply it to a liquid fire - if you get too close, all that will happen is that the jet of powder can blow the fuel around and increases the size/ferocity of the blaze.

So just sweep the powder cloud across the fire and let the powder fall into the flames where it can do its work disrupting the chemical reaction.

The £8 DP jobs currently on sale at Aldi are as good as anything for workshop use.

Oh, and the only safe way to extinguish a Class C (gas) fire is to turn the gas off. If you knock the flame down without isolating the fuel (gas) supply, you then have an ever-increasing cloud of unburnt flammable gas, mixing with air (and, in all probability, with glowing embers falling through it....nice...) forming a lovely explosive mixture. So leave that one to the fire service if you can't turn the gas off.

Please feel at liberty to disregard the above free advice; it's just that I had the good fortune to spend 30 years in the fire service and all of the above is based on (sometimes bitter) experience.

Anyway, hopefully none of you will ever need to find out, but just in case....

Stay safe.
 

TheTiddles

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Water fire extinguishers are best for racing office chairs round the car park, if you’ve not tried it you really should
 

RobinBHM

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I’ve had 2 fires in a joinery shop.

one was a fire spotted by one of my employees inside the bags of a 4 bag unit - the source of the fire was a panel saw -where an ember caused by a stuck offcut started the fire.

I managed to put it out with a powder extinguisher

the 2nd fire was a major fire in the neighbouring unit -it spread into one of my units, I used a foam extinguisher for a while until somebody told me there was an oil tank the other side of the wall!

The fire brigade put it out - in my unit they drenched the wall and roof - and there happened to be a live 3 phase distribution board on the wall below, it crackled a fair bit, but amazingly I cleaned it up and the MCBs were all fine. I had to replace some of the wiring as that had burnt.

So IME powder and foam - I had 4 of each
 

Jonzjob

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I have a fire blanket on my workshop door to the right going in and a halon extinguisher on the left. The halon is a single bash on the top and it empties, so in the case of a fire I would just grab the halon, bash the cap on the table of my band saw and chuck the thing into the workshop as I left and shut the door. Unless there were either of the two windows open it's a closed space 16' X 8' so the halon can't disperse. If it's just a small fire then the blanket should suffice.

I hope that I never find out!

Something that I always do when I have emptied aerosol spray cans is to keep the button pressed until there is no more gas coming out, turn it upside down and get my spring center punch and after several pushes it puts a small hole in the concave base. That way if it is ever on a fire, at the tip for instance, there is no explosion and bits of razor sharp metal flying around! The reason? I was stationed at R.A.F. Lyneham and we had a day each year dedicated to ground defence training. PPart of that was with the fire fighters and we were taught how to put our aircraft fires. On time one of the fire fighters showed us a teddy bear with a severed head. It was caused bu an aerosol hair spray can that had been chucked in the wast pwper basket in their billet and someone chucked a lit fag end in which caught fire. BANG and the teddy, by one of the beds had its head chopped off as if by a razor!
 

Orraloon

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Water fire extinguishers are best for racing office chairs round the car park, if you’ve not tried it you really should
While I can't condone misuse of safety equipment I will let you in on another use for the CO2 extinguisher. 12 cans of beer in a metal bucket and let them have the whole charge on top at close range. Instant cold beer. Sailors have to be very practical at times.
Regards
John
 

mr rusty

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I am impressed with the water mist videos, and have now ordered one for my workshop
 

TheTiddles

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While I can't condone misuse of safety equipment I will let you in on another use for the CO2 extinguisher. 12 cans of beer in a metal bucket and let them have the whole charge on top at close range. Instant cold beer. Sailors have to be very practical at times.
Regards
John
Slower is using air duster cans upside down as then it’s an impromptu freeze spray, I like your method more.

I should say it was the fire safety officer letting us use the then expired extinguishers for practice… we just decide her way was boring.

At the same place one of my colleagues walked away from a laser cutter which then set the material on fire, I was walking past, grabbed the nearest extinguisher (which happened to be powder) and put it out. Took someone 3 days to clean it out the machine and said pyromaniac had the gall to criticise me for the way I’d put out the fire he started.
 

Orraloon

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Yes we used to discharge the ones that were about out of date too. Refilled the water and foam as well in the early days. On merchant navy ships saturday mornings were what was called board of trade sports. Safety drill. Fire fighting, lifeboats that sort of thing. The beer trick usually impressed the new guys.
Regards
John
 

Stanleymonkey

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I think someone from the fore brigade commented above that CO2 is lively stuff with sawdust.

I seem to remember using having C02 demonstrated on fire training and it scatters embers and burning paper quite far from the original fire and can make things worse very quickly.

I know the powder is messy - but how many times have we all done something daft or had a hose split and had to vacuum out most of the shed / workshop anyway?

Can a powder extinguisher be much worse?
 

Terrytpot

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Can a powder extinguisher be much worse?
One of the Scania trucks I used to drive had a small 2kg one mounted in front of the base of the drivers seat as part of its ADR equipment for carrying hazardous goods. The law required two 6kg ones for load related incidents and a a smaller 2kg for the vehicle itself. All was fine and dandy with that setup until some hero ,no doubt thinking it would be amusing, absconded with the safety locking pin on the trigger of the fire extinguisher in my cab. Luckily I wasn’t travelling at speed when my heel accidentally triggered a blast from it but it took me weeks to try and get rid of that bloody powder from everwhere it had managed to get itself. Not a happy bunny although if I’d perpetrated this on someone I wasn’t fond of it would have had me giggling a bit.
 
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